Another Edgefest, Another Yawn From The Crowd

EdgefestDo you remember when Edgefest was a darn good rock n' roll show? CFNY Edge 102 used to put some serious effort into this show, hiring solid closers like Radiohead, Green Day, The Tragically Hip and more. Lately, it's been more of a joke.

The last Edgefest I attended was back in 2003 when Sloan, Our Lady Peace and The Hip played the last 'Fest at Molson Park. The 2004 line-up really upset me, and prompted quite the exchange between Alan Cross and myself. Last year's line-up was a little better, leaning on the power of local heroes Billy Talent, but it was still the weakest collection of bands since the late 80s.

This year’s main stage will play host to Yellowcard, the All-American Rejects, Hawthorne Heights, Story of the Year, and Matchbook Romance. I'm sure there's a 14 year old kid in Scarberia cheering right now, but the majority of us ol' faithful CFNY guys are yawning and moving on. We're aware of their unexplainable obsession with the Rejects, one of the bands I hate and a main attraction of this year's show.

Tix are on sale May 5th. I'm sure plenty of ducats will be available in July, so there's no rush kiddies. Take your sweet ass time.

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CFNY's Dirty Little Secret

RadioI thought my campaign to weed out safe pop-rock completely void of any soul or integrity was going well, until I heard All-American Rejects' "Dirty Little Secret" on CFNY Edge 102 the other day.

Way back in August of 2003, I called for a complete ban of sound-alike, wanna-be-punk, nauseatingly mediocre bands that were starting to secure way too much valuable radio air time, forcing me to dive for the next station preset all too frequently. Leading my hate list were Good Charlotte, Simple Plan, Not By Choice and All-American Rejects. In the ensuing three years I was pleased to hear less and less of this slop, but "Dirty Little Secret" is precisely the kind of song I can't stand. It's W.E.A.K.

As shown in the recent Toronto radio ratings, Edge 102's bread and butter are males aged 18-34. Nobody in that demo likes "Dirty Little Secret". Trust me.

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Toronto S1 2006 Radio Ratings

RadioBBM Canada has released its Top-Line Radio Statistics for January 9 - March 5, 2006. Here's the order of finish for Toronto stations, also known as the 5199ers.

  1. 98.1 CHFI-FM
  2. 104.5 CHUM-FM
  3. News Talk 1010 CFRB
  4. CBC Radio One
  5. 97.3 EZ Rock
  6. Q107
  7. 680 News
  8. Classical 96.3 FM
  9. Z103.5
  10. 102.1 The Edge
  11. AM740/Prime Radio
  12. Mix 99.9
  13. Flow 93.5
  14. CBC Radio Two
  15. 92.5 Jack-FM
  16. The FAN590
  17. Jazz FM 91
  18. AM 640 Toronto
  19. Country 95.3
  20. Foxy 88.5
  21. 1050 CHUM

Fellow fans of CFNY Edge102 shouldn't fret. They remained number one with dudes aged 18-34.

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Russ Holden and Darryl Dahmer

RadioThis afternoon I spent a few minutes listening to Bob McCown's Prime Time Sports on the Fan 590. He and Stephen Brunt were discussing politically vocal athletes like Muhammad Ali, Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Jim Brown and comparing them to Michael Jordon and Tiger Woods who are as non-political as can be. It was an interesting discussion, and then it was time for traffic. I can't remember if it was Russ Holden or Darryl Dahmer, but that doesn't matter. To me they're interchangeable and have been around forever.

When I first started listening to AM radio in the early 80s, Russ Holden and Darryl Dahmer were doing traffic reports for 680 CFTR. A little Googling reveals they both go back to 1979 at CFTR, where they both work to this day. That's an incredibly long time to stay at one station in the same role, even surviving a major format change when CFTR ditched the top 40 tunes for all news.

I wonder if they're the same guy?

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Two Minutes For Cheese

RadioIf you've listened to any Toronto AM radio lately, you've probably heard the Joe Bowen ads for the new ACC condominiums. Maple Leaf Square is a two condominium tower that's being built next to the Air Canada Centre where our Maple Leafs and Raptors play their home games. The ads are aimed at Leaf fans and are pretty cheesy, equating condo ownership with going to a hockey game, but Bowen's done cheese before so no sacred cow is slaughtered in the process.

There's a point near the end of these advertisements when the booming voice of Andy Frost announces "two minutes for too many features in a condo". This is the part that bothers me. Andy Frost is the official public-address announcer for Maple Leaf games, announcing goal scorers, penalties and the like. He took over for Paul Morris, a personal favourite who would never tarnish the role by announcing "two minutes" for anything in a cheesy radio ad. Morris had enough class to realize he was the voice of Leaf games and his tone and delivery was synonymous with the thrill of watching the blue and white live. Frost, apparently, will announce two minutes for anything so long as there's a pay cheque on the other side.

Some things are sacred.

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My Toronto Morning Radio History

RadioListening to the second last live broadcast of Howard Stern's radio show on WBUF this morning I started thinking about my Toronto morning radio history. I've been with Howard for about eight years but before that I spent time with several other morning shows in Toronto. Here's a brief recount of where I've been.

Tom Rivers on 680 CFTR - As a young kid going to primary school my clock radio was set for 680 CFTR which played top 40 music. Tom Rivers was the morning man and for years he entertained me before I headed off to St. Pius X.

Jesse and Gene on Q107 - As I got a little older and became a pre-teen, my tastes changed from top 40 to a harder rock sound. Jesse and Gene hosted the Q Morning Zoo and I listened to their program for a while until they left Q107 for AM radio.

Brother Jake Edwards on Q107 - When Jesse and Gene left Q107 I stayed put for their new morning guy Brother Jake Edwards. Brother Jake was great and introduced me to a character that would entertain me for many mornings, The Champ. I wrote about The Champ here.

Humble and Fred on CFNY Edge 102 - In the early 90s, my tastes in music changed again and I left Q107 for CFNY. Humble and Fred would be my morning show of choice for many years afterwards, always entertaining with their banter and always playing the best music on Toronto radio. I wrote about Humble and Fred here and here.

Howard Stern on Q107 and WBUF - Tomorrow ends the Howard Stern era for me. It's been a sweet ride. I've written about Howard here, here, here, here, here, and here.

???? - What's the next chapter of my Toronto morning radio history going to look like? There's always the tunes on CFNY Edge 102, but the hosts gab way too much and are as annoying as hell. Do we really need to have another useless unfunny conversation with Eduardo? There's Metro Morning on CBC, but that can be dry if it's not a topic I'm into. I can spend ten minutes or so at the Fan590 for a sports update and discussion with a hockey insider, but that's not a permanent solution to my problem.

I'll probably replace Howard with my iRiver H10.

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Noticeably Absent

Howard SternSirius Canada announced their 100 channel lineup the other day. Here are some quotes from the CBC write up about the story.

Music channels on Sirius Canada's lineup will include U.K. music from BBC Radio 1, Stephen Van Zandt's Underground Garage, Jimmy Buffet's Radio Margaritaville and Eminem's Shade 45.

Sports channels will include three dedicated play-by-play stations for NHL, NBA and NFL games as well as ESPN News.

News services include National Public Radio Now, Bloomberg Radio, CNN and BBC World News.

Martha Stewart Living Radio, Laugh Break, Maxim Radio and E! Entertainment Radio are among the other offerings.

Controversial but popular DJ Howard Stern, who joins Sirius Satellite Radio in the U.S. in January, will not be in the initial Canadian lineup, according to Sirius Canada.

Back in June when the CRTC first approved satellite radio in Canada, I wrote that a key difference between Canada and the USA would prevent Canada from ever hearing an uncensored Howard Stern radio show. Whereas the FCC in the United States doesn't police satellite radio the way they do terrestrial radio, the CRTC here treats them both the same. As I wrote back in June, this is bullshit. Adults will subscribe to the service and buy special hardware to receive the signal. Considering these facts, a subscriber would be well aware as to what kind of content they will be exposed to, which may or may not include a little "obscene or profane language".

At least this eliminates a decision I was due to make in approximately eight weeks.

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The Radio Had Eyes

RadioDriving around last night, James and I turned the radio to the Raptors game. The newest Raptor provided some pretty awesome moments for my three year old passenger.

"James dribbles the ball up court", "James dishes off to Bosh" and "James with the jumper" were just some of the phrases we heard. I told James that the radio was talking about him and he focused on the commentary only to hear his name again and again. At one point James asked me if the radio was going to talk about me too and right on queue they spoke about James, using his full name, Mike James.

On this night, the radio had eyes.

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The Last 25 Search Terms

GoogleFor no particular reason at all, here are the last 25 search terms that referred people to this site.

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Ever since Fred Patterson was relieved from his duties at Mix 99.9, I've noticed an influx of visitors seeking to find out where he's gone and what happened. I wrote this entry on September 6 when I first heard Humble was sans Fred and now I rank very highly for searches like this.

Fred, if you're out there, drop me a line and I'll gladly post your statement. Many have spent thousands of mornings waking up to your voice and want to know how you're doing. It would be an honour to play the role of lynch pin between you and your fans.

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Should They Play Photograph?

MusicFor a new rock station that claims to have edge, CFNY Edge 102 sometimes picks a song to spin that doesn't make any sense to me. Currently on high rotation when it has no business being on the station is Nickelback's "Photograph".

First, I should fully disclose my relationship with Nickelback. Following their release of "The State", I was a very big fan. "Breathe", "Old Enough" and "Worthy To Say" were top notch tunes and rocked. I was excited when I got a chance to see them on the small stage at Molson Park during an Edgefest and I returned the next year to see them close the show on the big stage.

"How You Remind Me" was the song that altered Nickelback's path. It was really, really poppy and sounded as much at home on CHUM-FM as it did on CFNY Edge 102. It ended 2002 as the most played song of the year on North American radio. Then, the following album contained a cover version of "How You Remind Me" called "Someday", and Nickelback consummated their marriage to pop-rock ballads that soccer moms dig. Their new "How You Remind Me Of Someday" is "Photograph", and it's not rock. It's not even a cool rock ballad like Green Day's "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" or Staind's "Outside". It's just a cheesy ballad produced for mass appeal and commercial objectives.

This is why I find it puzzling that CFNY Edge 102 has embraced it so. Is it because the band is Canadian? Is it because they played previous Nickelback songs? Is it because their audience really likes "Photograph"?

"Photograph" is the new "The Reason". Actually, it's not nearly that bad. Compared to "The Reason", "Photograph" is "Smells Like Teen Spirit". That's frightening.

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